Blu-ray Review “The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)”

Directed by: Roger Corman
Starring: Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson, Jonathan Haze, Mel Welles
Distributed by: Legend Films
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Running Time: 70 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Legend Films is known for colorizing classic films and they did a very notable job with 1960’s “The Little Shop of Horrors”. The color is very subtle and feels like it was beautiful hand panted on each scene. I have seen this film many times and I am big fan of Roger Corman and this film still works well for me. This is the first time that this film has been released on Blu-ray and Legend films really did a great job restoring it in both color and black-and-white.

Everyone knows the classic story of “The Little Shop of Horrors”. This 1960 film was also one of Jack Nicholson’s first roles. Seymour grows an exotic plant that has an insatiable appetite for blood and people. As the plant grows larger and larger and hungrier and hungrier, things start to get out of the control for the local flower shop and their bloodthirsty plant.

The video resolutions looks really sharp in its 1080p transfer. The only main concern is that the aspect ratio on the Blu-ray is 1.33:1 compared to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Nothing major missed though. The audio is nothing special but includes a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track.

The special features only included a commentary track by MST3K’s Mike Nelson, which definitely delivers some great laughs. Lastly if you prefer the classic black and white version of the film, as with all Legend releases they included the original black and white version as well, so everyone is happy.

SyFy Renews Hit Series “Being Human” for Third Season


Second Season-To-Date Delivers Double Digit Audience Growth Over
Season One in Key Demos and Total Viewers

New York, NY – February 8, 2012 – Syfy is ordering a third season (13 episodes) of its hit drama series Being Human, it was announced today by Mark Stern, President of Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head of Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. The announcement comes just four episodes into the 13-episode second season, which premiered on Monday, January 16.

To date, viewership for the second season has increased by an impressive +27% in Adults 18-49, +35% in Adults 25-54 and +15% in total viewers.

With newly-released Live +7 data factored in, the season two premiere of Being Human (January 16, 2012 at 9PM ET/PT) delivered a 1.7 HH rating representing 1.4 million Adults 25-54 (a series high for the demo and +18% over the first season premiere), 1.4 million Adults 18-49 (second highest ranking in the demo and +12% over the season one premiere) and 2.4 million total viewers (the second most-watched episode of any season and +3% over the season one premiere).

With women comprising 52% of the total audience for premiere episodes this season, Being Human remains Syfy’s most female-skewing scripted series ever.

“With the success of season two, ‘Being Human’ has become a premiere destination for Syfy viewers,” said Stern.  “Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke have taken this series to new heights this year and we’re excited to see where the third season will go.”

Being Human stars Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath and Sam Huntington as vampire Aidan, ghost Sally and werewolf Josh who share the creature comforts of home in a Boston brownstone.  Together the three roommates struggle to keep their supernatural secrets and resist individual temptations as they strive to live lives that are as near to normal as possible.

Executive Producers are Michael Prupas (The Kennedys, Pillars of the Earth), Jeremy Carver (Supernatural) and Anna Fricke (Men in Trees, Everwood) who are both writers/showrunners, Adam Kane (The Mentalist, Heroes), and Rob Pursey and Toby Whithouse. Irene Litinsky (Human Trafficking, The Phantom) is series Producer.

Being Human is a Muse Entertainment production in association with Zodiak USA. It is based on the acclaimed series, Being Human, created by Toby Whithouse and produced by Touchpaper Television, part of Zodiak Media.

Zodiak Rights hold worldwide rights to the new series.

About Zodiak USA
Zodiak USA is the North American operations for Zodiak Media, the leading independent in entertainment, factual, drama and kids programming. Zodiak USA’s credits include Secret Millionaire (ABC), Celebrity Wife Swap (ABC) and Hardcore Pawn (truTV).  Zodiak Media consists of 45 production companies operating in 20 countries including the US, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Russia.  Zodiak Rights, the international rights business of Zodiak Media, boasts a growing catalogue of around 15,000 hours of content. For more information visit and

About Muse Entertainment Enterprises
Muse Entertainment is a leading film and television production company known for its well-crafted and high-quality productions. Since its founding in 1998, Muse has produced, co-produced or provided production services on more than 150 TV movies and mini-series, television series and feature films and has won 95 awards and garnered 299 award nominations!

Another of Muse Entertainment’s recent television series, Bomb Girls, has  been reordered for a second season. In 2011, its topical, 8-hr. historical drama, The Kennedys,  earned 10 Emmy Award nominations. Its Pillars of the Earth also won awards. Muse’s other award-winning programs are Durham County (Seasons 1,2,3), Ben Hur, The Last Templar, Impact, Human Trafficking, Answered by Fire, This is Wonderland and Tales from the Neverending Story.

The company’s head office and its Quebec production centre are in Montreal. Muse also maintains development and production operations in Toronto and Los Angeles.

About Syfy
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (, and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)


CD Review: Fallon Bowman “Human Conditional”

Fallon Bowman
“Human Conditional”
Social Unrest Records
Producer: Justin Johnson
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Human Conditional” is the first solo release by founding Kittie vocalist/guitarist Fallon Bowman. The album features 11 new tracks that cover a variety of musical genres. “Human Conditional was produced by Justin Johnson and is being released via Bowman’s own record label Social Unrest Records. The band consists of Fallon Bowman on Guitar/Vocals, Josiah Sherman- Keys, Keith Lowe- Bass, Brian Oaks- Guitars and Justin Johnson- drums, keys and back ground vocals. “Human Conditional” is the follow up release to Bowman’s previous band Amphibious Assault’s 2007 album “On Better Days and Sin-Eating”.

I was very surprised upon listening to “Human Conditional”. Until now I always had the picture of Fallon sporting bright pink/red hair screaming lyrics to songs like “Brackish”. However “Human Conditional” showed a side of Fallon that until now I don’t think I or many others had seen before. Songs like “Force Me Not To Breathe Again” and “Make Up Your Mind” sport catchy choruses that have you singing along on the first listen. While the synth infused “Mistake: Retake” combines heavy guitars with Bowman’s melodic vocal stylings. “Human Conditional” features a great mix making all the instrumentation contained on the album really enjoyable to listen to.

Fallon Bowman’s “Human Conditional” is a great listen from start to finish. Though much different than her previous releases the album is very fresh. “Human Conditional” might not be heavy enough for fans of Fallon’s previous work but for me “Human Conditional” had everything I look for in an album.

Track Listing:
1.)    Human Conditional
2.)    Force Me Not To Breathe Again*
3.)    In Your Room
4.)    Make Up Your Mind*
5.)    Laughing With me
6.)    Rio De Janeiro
7.)    Love Affair
8.)    Tales From The Fourth Floor
9.)    Mistakes: Retake*
10.)  Disappearance
11.)  The Empty Space

Film Review “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)”

Directed by: Tom Six
Starring: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie
Distributed by IFC Midnight
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running time: 87 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I am not afraid of squeamish films and I am a big fan of the “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)”. I thought it was different, original and very disturbing. This film is also very different, original and very very disturbing. A sequel to this film could have just been a real cop-out but I feel that a lot of planning actually went into this. Tom Six is no doubt one fucked up guy but he definitely knows how to make a good film. If you are a fan of this first film, this is a must see and definitely worth a watch.

The sequel takes a very interesting turn and takes us into the “real world” where we have Martin Lomax, who is completely obsesses with the film “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)”. Martin has plans to complete the full twelve person centipede. He even goes as far as setting up a fake audition with the first films star Ashlynn Yennie, who returns as herself. I don’t want to say more to avoid spoilers.  Just make sure not to eat prior to watch this film.

I have to give Laurence R. Harvey the highest praise since he plays the highly disturbed Martin Lomax. He does not speak a word throughout the film and that is what makes him even creepier. I might even say that he trumps Dieter Laser in terms of creepiness. He is really enjoying what he is doing and seems so detached from reality. I completely understand why this film threatened to be banned in the UK, it is extremely intense and makes the first film look like a kids film. I am serious it is that intense.

Interview with Ashlynn Yennie

Ashlynn Yennie is known for her role in the film “The Human Centipede”.  She is currently reprising her role this month in the follow-up “The Human Centipede II”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ashlynn about working on the sequel and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about your involvement in “The Human Centipede II”
Ashlynn Yennie: We shot the first film in 2008 and in January of 2010, I moved to Los Angeles. IFC had picked up the film and was going to release it in April. Everyone who has seen the first movie knows my character Jenny dies in the first film. I never thought I would be back for the second. I got an email from Tom Six and the film’s writer telling me that he would like to talk with me. When we talked Tom laid out the entire second film for me and I totally wanted to do the film. I wasn’t allowed to talk about my involvement in the film whatsoever. I couldn’t even tell my agent at the time as to why I was going to London. I flew over to London at the end of the summer and worked on my part for a few weeks. Everything has been super secret and I still can’t tell anyone what my part in the film is.

MG: How was it working with Tom Six for the second time now?
AY: Working with Tom wasn’t much different from the first time he and I worked together. When you are working with Tom he is always right there with you. Even when I was in the centipede he was right there giving me notes and encouragement. He is very hands on. I think Tom knows that as actors and actresses we are devoting ourselves to making his film come true and he is going to make sure we give our best performance. Working on part 2 though was completely different. The first film was very clean and had a lot medical type things going on. The second film is completely the opposite as the warehouse we were shooting in was very wet and dirty. It looked like a swamp in there. The film looks really amazing though.

MG: What are your feelings on the film already being banned in the UK due to its content?
AY: I can’t say I wasn’t shocked. Tom has a plan for everything he does and after the first film came out people were saying it wasn’t gory enough and that you didn’t see enough. I tell people they asked for what they will see in the second film. I don’t know if people realized what they asked for.

MG: After working on the first film did you have any doubts about the film?
AY: That film was a great European film to shoot. We had no idea what was going to happen with it. I remember when they told us what the name of the film was going to be we were all a little taken back. We sort of teased Tom about the title for quite sometime while we were shooting. I don’t generally watch a lot of horror films as I am a bit of a scaredy cat. When “The Human Centipede” came out and it was embraced by the horror fans and it became just so big mainly because of the internet. The trailer for the film just went everywhere. I think “Human Centipede” is the most not watched film as most people I meet tell me they have watched just the trailer. They seem to have these preconceived notions as to what the film is about. The first film really held back a lot. The second one is in your face.

MG: How has working on the second film compared to working on the first film?
AY: I became very close with Ashley and Akihiro during shooting and for Ashley and me that was my first film. We all became recognizable from this film and to move up the chain link with people you are friends is great. The second film I got a whole new batch of actresses to fall in love with. The girls in this movie are incredible women and very beautiful. Both sets were completely opposite but both had a real family feel.

MG: Do you any other upcoming projects?
AY: Right now I am pretty busy promoting “The Human Centipede II”. I do go on auditions like crazy though as I am still an actress trying to make it in Los Angeles.

“The Human Centipede” Interview Series

Truly one-of-a-kind, Tom Six’s twisted biological horror film “The Human Centipede” confidently goes where few films have dared to go. The sick vision of a demented surgeon, a role portrayed so brilliantly by Dieter Laser it is sure to join Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface in the horror pantheon, is a 100% medically accurate nightmare.

Premise for “The Human Centipede”:
During a stopover in Germany in the middle of a carefree roadtrip through Europe, two American girls find themselves alone at night when their car breaks down in the woods. Searching for help at a nearby villa, they are wooed into the clutches of a deranged retired surgeon who explains his mad scientific vision to his captives’ utter horror. They are to be the subjects of his sick lifetime fantasy: to be the first to connect people, one to the next, via their gastric system, and in doing so bring to life ‘the human centipede’.

Fans of the first film can rejoice that Tom Six has already completed the second film in the series titled “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)”, which has been scheduled for release on DVD in 2011 but was refused a classification for distribution in the UK due to its explicit content.

Click here to check out our review of the film
Click here to play the 8-bit video game for “The Human Centipede”

Akihiro Kitamura

Ashley C. Williams

Ashlynn Yennie

Dieter Laser

“Being Human” Interview Series

“Being Human” is a re-imagining of the acclaimed BBC original series that follows three 20-something roommates: A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf who are struggling to keep their dark secrets from the world, while also helping each other navigate the complexities of living double lives.

The series stars Sam Witwer (“Smallville”, “Battlestar Galactica”), Meaghan Rath (“The Assistants”), Sam Huntington (“Fanboys”, “Superman Returns”) and Mark Pellegrino (“Lost”, “Supernatural”).

Movie Mikes is a huge fan of this series and was lucky enough to conduct an interview series to cover this show. If you haven’t seen it yet…make sure you set your DVR’s to catch this great new show Mondays at 9pm EST on Syfy. I hope you enjoy these interviews as much as we did doing them. Feel free to leave comments!

Meaghan Rath

Mark Pellegrino

Sam Huntington

Sam Witwer
Sarah Allen

Interview with Page Kennedy

Page Kennedy has done a lot with his career in a short amount of time. Page started his acting career on stage and quickly moved on to television and movies along big name actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Collin Farrell. Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton caught with Page to talk about his character Radon Randell from the Spike TV’s “Blue Mountain State”.

Click here to purchase “Blue Mountain State” DVD or Blu-Ray

Adam Lawton: You have quit an extensive acting background and have been on quit a few different television shows, but how did the role for “Blue Mountain State” come about?
Page Kennedy: “Blue Mountain State” came at a difficult time in my life. It was a role that I thought was a long shot for me to play. So I went in there kind of pessimistic about it but prepared and I gave them what I thought this character was. I thought I knew this character. I just didn’t think I looked like him, but again I gave them what I thought this character was and apparently they thought so too.

AL: I think it takes guts to go out there in an American flag Speedo.
PK: Yeah it does a little bit. It takes guts.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about who your character Radon Randell is on the show?
PK: Radon is a cat from Detroit who has always been the best everywhere he went, but you know he’s from Detroit so his life circumstances are a little different. He is able to get away with a lot of stuff that he does, since he’s an awesome football player. They let him do whatever he wanted to do. It comes to happen that he chooses to go to Blue Mountain State after receiving all these offers from other schools. He’s bringing Detroit to this school along with all his antics and his awesomeness on the football field. So you have to deal with an extra arrogant, crazy, and wild personality.

AL: Did the cast, who were part the first season, give you any type of hazing with you being the new guy on set?
PK: I didn’t really get hazed much. I fitted right in because my personality is as big and crazy as theirs are. It felt like I was never the new guy because I just gelled so well with them immediately.

AL: Did you have any previous football experience prior to the show?
PK: I played a football character once before on the show “Six Feet Under”, which is ironic because that was the first time I was on TV. Here I am again playing a football character. I also played for my division 1 college, so I had some experience.

AL: You were in the movie “S.W.A.T.” with Collin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson, can you tell us a little about that experience?
PK: I was relatively new to the movie game as that was only my second movie. It was surreal. I remember one time we had rehearsal for the 6th St. Bridge scene. It was a closed rehearsal, which was the first time for me being a part of a closed rehearsal.  They put me in a van with Samuel L. Jackson, Collin Farrell, LL Cool L and Michelle Rodriguez. All I kept thinking to myself was I made it. I’m sitting in a van going to rehearsals with movie stars, I made it. I worked on that movie a long time, so I got to be close with Olivia Martinez and Collin Farrell and really everyone. It was a fun time.

AL: Can you tell me about the time you snuck into Sony Studio?
PK: Oh ya, well I had just gotten to LA from graduate school and was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I had done a Shakespeare festival the summer before and one of the actors lived in LA and told me about the audition. I didn’t have a car. I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t have anything but a head shot and a dream. So I was like, “How am I going to get to this audition?” and “how am I actually going to audition?”  I had never actually had an audition in LA. So I had a friend take me to Sony Studios and I told them I was a courier making a delivery to the casting director which I was…I was delivering myself! This was pre-9/11, so they let me in. I got there and I said “Hey I’m here let’s do this!” They were like “We are not even auditioning yet and are you representing yourself?”  I said “Sure am” and they basically kicked me out. About a week later, the actual casting director saw that I had like twenty theater credits on my resume and they called me in for an actual audition. I nailed that and then they called me again and I nailed it again. Then they wanted me to test for the network at which time I thought I had the part (laughs) but I didn’t. So I went back to an agent, who had previously turned down my offer to represent me, and I asked that they negotiate my deal. They said “Sure”, not really thinking anything would come of it. But then CBS called them and asked if they knew a Page Kennedy and they were like “Yes why? What did he do?” And the person calling said that they wanted me to network test for CBS. And they still represent me today.

AL: Do you have any other projects coming up that you would like our readers to know about?
PK: Well I’m a rapper and I do music. I have a song that will be played on one of the upcoming episodes of “Blue Mountain State”. I have a mix tape that’s out on my website called “The Chronicles of U-Turn” which was based off my character on “Weeds”. I’m heavily on twitter @PageKennedy, where you can hear some of my jokes, as well as compete against me daily at 9:30 PST on “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”.

AL: I would like to see a Radon soundboard app, which featured all his catch phrases.
PK: (Laughs) that would be dope.

Click here to purchase “Blue Mountain State” DVD or Blu-Ray

Interview with Darin Brooks

Darin Brooks who won a Daytime Emmy for his role as Max Brady on the day time series “Days of Our Lives” and is currently starring in the Spike TV’s original series “Blue Mountain State” took a moment to talk with Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton about season two of the hit television show “Blue Mountain State”.

Click here to purchase “Blue Mountain State” DVD or Blu-Ray

Adam Lawton: Being back for the second season of “Blue Mountain State” were you allowed any input or direction for your character Alex Moran?
Darin Brooks: This season of shooting went by so fast for me and the other actors who returned to the show.  We shot for three months and before we knew it it was over. We had already developed who our characters were, so we didn’t have to start at ground zero for season two.  We able to just coming back and have fun.

AL: There are a lot of big sports names attached to this seasons episodes, was there one in particular that you were looking forward to meeting and working with?
DB: This year we have a whole bunch of really fun people. We have Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Bill Romanowski, Bill Parcells, Brian Bosworth as well as Chuck Liddell and Denise Richards of course. I was excited to work with everybody.

AL: Was it hard for you going from a more serious role on “Days of Our Lives” to a more comedic role on “Blue Mountain State”, where you’re shooting scenes like the “cookie race” from season one?
DB: “Days of Our Lives” was a great training ground for me and I think any actor. The people who work on those shows are some of the hardest working people in the business. On “Days of Our Lives”, we would shoot six episodes in five days with each hour episode being around 80-90 pages per script. On “BMS” we shoot around ten pages at the most a day.  I learned a lot of technical aspects of acting that you might not learn in an acting class.  Like working with the lights and focusing on where your mics are and memorization skills. It was again a great training ground for me.  It was fun but it can be a little dramatic, so I tried to put some comedy into that character.  Now I’m kind of doing the opposite because we are shooting less pages.  We get to explore and make different choices.  With “BMS”, we can get more takes and can choose your best performance and concentrate on your character. Spike kind of let’s us do what we want, which is a lot of fun.

AL: Speaking of “Days of our Lives” you won a Daytime Emmy for your performance on that show, can you tell us a little bit about what that was like for you?
DB: To be honest with you, I was shocked. I know we had submitted all the tapes but I didn’t expect to win. I was just going to go to hang out with everybody. I think my Emmy speech is on YouTube and you can see how shocked I was. I think I stood up and mouthed “Oh Fuck” and as soon as I got on stage I said “Oh Shit” and they beeped me and started playing music to get me of stage. I was very surprised.

AL: Do you have any projects coming up that you would like to tell our readers about, maybe season three of “BMS”?
DB: Right now we are not sure if there is going to be a season three but it’s looking good. Everyone has to keep tuning in and do their part to help keep the ratings up, but hopefully we will find out by the end of the year. I have a guess spot on “CSI Miami” coming up.  I’m also doing some writing and trying to produce a film, along with a bunch of other stuff.  Just getting out there and doing my thing.

Click here to purchase “Blue Mountain State” DVD or Blu-Ray

Interview with Skyline's Colin & Greg Strause

Colin & Greg Strause have worked on many high profile films under their company Hydraulx. Some of them range from “The Day After Tomorrow” to “300” to “2012” to “Avatar”. Together they have only previously directed one film, “AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem” back in 2007. They decided to create their latest film “Skyline”, completely independent from studios in order to make it under their own terms. “Skyline” looks like $100 million movie but was shot for less than $1 million dollars, according to the brothers.  Movie Mikes got a chance to chat with the brothers about “Skyline” and how they got it made in under a year.

Click here to purchase the brothers movies

Mike Gencarelli: How did Hydraulx originally come about?
Greg Strause: Hydraulx came to be in 2002.  Colin and I moved to LA in 1995 and had another company called Pixel Envy with some partners.  We couldn’t all get along, so we split that up.  Colin and I decided to just go at it on our own and do it just the two of us, that is when Hydraulx came to be.  We started off pretty small, it was like ten guys in an apartment in Santa Monica.  It has grown now into a big office with like a hundred and twenty people.  It has turned into this little monster.

MG: Tell us why you decided to make “Skyline” completely independent from studios?
GS: There were a few things, we thought a lot of things could have gone better on “AVPR”.  In the three years that has gone by since it came out, we have been developing scripts.  We were meeting with producers and trying to get things going at other studios.  It is a very frustrating process of trying to get a movie off the ground.  If we had an idea that we thought was cool, a person at the studio would say “If there was a comic book that sold 250 copies of it, then I could show my boss”.  Colin and I thought that was absolutely ridiculous.  That is honestly the dumbest thing I have ever heard.  I have to make a comic book in order to get a movie made?  That is really lame that you can’t show your boss unless it is based on an existing property.
Colin Strause: It doesn’t even matter if the existing property only sold like ten copies either.
GS: Yeah, it is such a studio mentality that everyone is just trying to protect their jobs.  It is very difficult to get original sci-fi and stuff like that off the ground.  You have to take a risk, like what we did by just financing your own film.  We did it independently, just rolled the dice and see what happens.

MG: How were you able to complete “Skyline” from script to screen in under a year?
CS: It was like 11 and a half months. It was insane.
GS: I think the important thing is that we had our writers, Liam (O’ Donnell) and Josh (Cordes) and they stayed on it until the last day it was delivered.
CS: We had a strong outline and that was real key.  You can spend years on the development process and writing the script.  Just because you spent three years on it doesn’t mean the script is going to be any better than if you spent two months on it.  Sometimes you get these ideas that sounds great in a room and once they are implemented you say “Oh my God, it got worse”.  That is why things get stuck in development hell.  We had a very detailed outline written out right off the bat.  From that outline Josh and Liam stuck to it when they wrote the script.  That aloud the script to get finished in what is considered a short order from what the business is used to.

MG: “Skyline” was shot on a low budget, what was the hardest part of making it looking like a $100 million dollar movie?
GS: The first thing was getting everyone on board in the beginning and making them believe we could pull this off.  They would read the script and it reads big.  Colin and I said told them we can do this for $10 million. The physical live action budget was only a million bucks.
CS: Yeah, it was like $980,000.
GS: The agents and managers were flipping.  They thought we were smoking crack.  That is them though doing their job, it didn’t make sense.  You have this script it reads really big.  So convincing people we weren’t smoking crack was one of the hard parts.  The other part was after we finished shooting, we were cutting the movie this past summer and Universal tells us they want to release the movie on November 12th.  So probably the hardest thing really was getting it done in that amount of time.

MG: How does working on visual effects for “Skyline” differ from you working on a film like “Avatar”?
GS: The actual process is very similar.  Again, the time compression on “Skyline” was rough.
CS: We had to do a thousand FX shots in just under four months which is insane.  It is the most shots Hydraulx has ever done on a movie.  The actual process, the software and the way things are put together, is identical to how we did stuff on “Avatar”.
GS: The biggest difference is that since we were our own client, we were  able to eliminate a significant amount of bureaucracy between supervisors, director, producers and the studios.  There are all these levels of people that need to sign off on things.  As directors, we are also visual effects supervisors, we knew what we were going to do from day one.  We just stuck to the plan.  Usually what happens on movies, they are trying to race through pre-production.  They do not always work out the visual effects until after the movie is shot.  They are like “Ok, now let’s get into it afterwards.  We knew this wasn’t going to be a two year process, so we didn’t have that luxury.  We had to come up with our plan up front, stick to our guns and ride it out.
CS: It is a different way of doing movies and that is how we pulled it off.  I do not think that anyone else could have ever done it the way we did.

MG: When I watching the film, I thought to myself you guys probably had this all planned out.  It felt very well thought out, like the visual effect were already there when it is was shot.
GS: One of our camera operators on the movie was Josh Cordes, who is also one of the writers.  Having your writer be your camera guy really helps.  You have someone who knows why the camera is being pointed somewhere.  That is a huge positive in trying to streamline the process.

MG: What has been the most difficult film that you have worked on?
GS: This film definitely ranks up there for me and probably another would be…
CS: “2012”, it was huge.
GS: Yeah it was, but I think it might be “The Day After Tomorrow” actually.  We came in after another company had a problem on the movie.  We only had a couple of months to do, what this other company had a year to work on.  “Skyline” definitely takes the cake though overall in that realm.
CS: We were also wearing a lot of hats in “Skyline”.  It is our first movie as producers as well.  You have involvement of making sure it doesn’t go over budget.  We had to get it done on time.  We were dealing with the marketing materials.  The color grading and final assembly of the film was done at Hydraulx.  It was the first movie we have ever done that on.  We were learning all the ins and outs of managing the sound department also.  It was a huge undertaking.
GS: Even though it is a small indie.  There is still an incredible amount of man hours that goes into the film.  Staying above all of the departments is a lot of work.  Collin and I were running on pure adrenaline the whole film.

MG: I liked the ending of the movie, I thought it fit well.
GS: It was ballsy.  It is not a studio ending.  We wanted to do something really interesting with the ending.

MG: When was the ending shot? Was it a pick-up shot?
GS: It was literally shot the last day of principal photography.  The whole things was shot in one day on green screen.  It was intense.

MG: Any hints you can give us for what’s to come in “Skyline 2”?
GS: [MINOR SPOILER] We already have a forty page treatment that we did.  I hope people take away when they watch the movie is that “Skyline” is the prequel.  We basically shot what we wanted to do with this trilogy in order.  Normally you do the big movie first, then the sequel, then come back and do the prequel.  With this one we had the story mapped out in what we wanted to do.  Now seeing where the movie ends, it leaves it open for a chance for us to fight back.  We got our asses kicked and we find out first resistance fighter.  I think it takes us to a really cool place for the next one.
CS: It gives us hope for the human race.

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MovieMikes’ “Skyline” Interview Series

In case you haven’t heard of “Skyline”, it is a new alien invasion movie and is in theaters now. The film was completely financed by Colin and Greg Strause without the assistance of any major studio. The film has a budget around only $10 million dollars and was almost entirely filmed at co-director Greg Strause’s condo building in Marina Del Rey, CA. It looks like a $100+ million dollar movie, taking a page from films like “Cloverfield” and ” District 9″. The film started off as a test trailer which was shot Thanksgiving 2009, and it is already hitting the screen less than a year later. There is about 1,000 VFX shots in the film, which more than most big budget franchise tent poles.

Here is the premise for the film:
Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth.
Movie Mikes was able to score some interview with the cast and crew from “Skyline”.

Interview with Tanya Newbould

When Tanya Newbould tried out for her first film you could say she had beginner’s luck. Originally cast as an extra in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” she ended up scoring not one but two parts in the film. After a few minor roles she began a long association with director Brett Ratner, appearing in the Nicolas Cage comedy “Family Man.” She also worked with the director on “Rush Hour 2,” “Red Dragon” and “X-Men: The Last Stand”.  Her next role is in the Strause brother’s new film “Skyline”. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk with Tanya about from her start in the business to her latest role in “Skyline”.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role in the upcoming sci-fi film “Skyline”?
Tanya Newbould: It’s pretty intense. My character’s name is Jen, she’s married. And what’s really neat is that the first time you see the Alien it’s through my eyes. It’s a very pivotal role…very intense to do…very high energy. All kinds of you know what is going down so it was very high octane stuff the entire time I worked.

MG: How do you think this film will compare to similarly related film like “Cloverfield”?
TN: I actually liked “Cloverfield.” When I watched it I was drawn in because I didn’t know exactly what it was about. I think “Skyline” has a similar feel only in that sense but everything else is entirely different. When I read the script I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It was a really good script. I’m not surprised it’s gone to the level it’s gone to. Working with the Strause Brothers…they’re an incredible team of co-directors. They really complement each other. It really was an honor to work with both of them. The writers were great…the producers…everyone was really, really awesome.

MG: What was the most difficult part of working on that film?
TN: Probably the twelve hour days. And my character, because of what she goes through, it’s not one that you can act or pretend or be low key. I was doing heavy emotion the entire time and that’s not something you can fake because we know when people are being real and when they’re not and as an actor you can’t fake that because in order for the audience to believe it you’ve got to believe it. It was very interesting. We shot in a parking garage, where people live, and we’d get ready to roll. I’m getting ready to run screaming through the parking garage, crying hysterically and I’d hear “hold please…someone is coming through.” And we’d have to stop, wait for them to come through, get in their car, back out, drive off. OK, perfect! So all day you’re constantly going through this where you’re ready to go but you have to stop everything and wait.

MG: The Strause Brothers are best known for visual effects work but here they return to the directing chair (the brothers also directed “Aliens vs Predators: Requiem”). How was it working with them?
TN: For working on a film with a low budget I never felt like I WAS working on a film with a low budget. I’ve worked on big studio films, I’ve done four of Brett Ratner’s movies. I’m used to doing bigger budget movies. But I really felt that since Colin and Greg have been in the industry so long they knew what they were doing. They were great. The entire cast and crew…everyone who worked on the film….they knew what was going on. They had it together. It was very well done.

MG: You started your career in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” whose co-star Alex Winter we just interviewed. How was your experience on the film?
TN: I love Alex! I would love to talk to him, he’s amazing. And I love Keanu too. He was such a sweetheart. They were so much fun to work with. It was a really, really cool shoot. What’s interesting is that I had just started out acting and was actually an extra in the opening scene…I’m one of the college students. And from there I ended up playing Marilyn Monroe in the “heaven” sequence and then the director hired me to play the rock and roll reporter Kate Axelrod. So I actually have three parts in that movie.

MG: What do you have planned next?
TN: I just wrapped a movie I shot a few weeks ago called “The Victim” with Jennifer Blanc and Danielle Harris. Michael Bien not only stars in it but he also directed my sequence. I play a reporter. Now that one was a low budget movie, but it was very well done. Danielle is my best friend. In fact, she’s Godmother to my baby.

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Interview with Liam O’Donnell & Phet Mahathongdy

Phet Mahathongdy has not one but two roles in the upcoming sci-fi film “Skyline”. She also is married to Liam O’Donnell, one of the writers and producers of “Skyline”. Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton got a chance to talk with both Phet (pronounced Pat) and Liam to discuss their new movie, “Skyline”, which opens in theaters Friday, November 12.

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Adam Lawton: Phet, what are your roles in the movie?
Phet Mahathongdy: I have two small cameos. The original script had a different role for me but that never made it to the cut. So I ended up doing a mother and baby scene and a bartender scene.
Liam O’Donnell: When we first started shooting Phet did the bartender scene and played the character Mandy. Then we started editing and thinking about doing re-shoots. We weren’t sure if we were going to keep that scene or not. It was a big pool sequence with all the characters hanging out and kind of enjoying the California life style. So when we started the re-shoots, we wanted to do a scene in an airplane which showed the characters arriving to LA. Originally due to the initial budget, we just had the characters arriving in a limo but when we got the re-shoots approved and we had a budget for an airplane set.  We wanted to  have a little “save the cat moment” where Jared played by Eric Balfore helps a single woman with a baby in her arms with her luggage. This is kind of a little screenwriting trick to make his character more likable. I said I know a good looking lady and cute kid. So Phet and our six month old played that as well. Later on however we didn’t know that the pool scene which had originally been cut came back. So Phet ends up having two scenes as two different characters in the movie. You really have to be looking closely in the pool scene to realize it’s the same woman.

AL: Phet How was it working on your first feature film?
PM: The film started of independently with a really small cast and crew maybe no more than twenty people. I have done independent films before so it was basically the same feel where everyone knows everyone else. We didn’t have trailers so everyone was hanging out together between takes and talking so it was very intimate.

AL: Are you and Liam fans of the sci-fi Genre?
PM: We are huge sci-fi nuts!
LO: She’s a very cool wife to be with because she only really likes action, horror and sci-fi. So if there’s a drama I kind of want to watch, she’s usually not interested.

AL: Phet, do you have any other upcoming projects?
PM: We actually just had a baby and he recently turned one year old. I have barely been auditioning for much of anything the last year or so. Lately I have just been trying to get back into it. When I filmed the scenes for “Skyline”, our son was about only about six months old so. We were still trying to get back into the swing of things.  Right now I’m just starting to get back into it and retrain and go back out there. It’s been a real life adjusting moment having a child and being in LA trying to pursue a career. It makes things a lot tougher. You have to be a lot stronger and without family here it’s hard to find a good sitter.

AL: Liam, can you tell me how you got into the business of writing scripts and treatments?
LO: I went to school for political science. I had wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, but it was one of those things that I wasn’t sure if I could. I originally came out to LA to do entertainment law. So I had gotten to know some people at some of the smaller production companies and I started writing treatments for local cable commercials. At one point I ended up directing one of these cable commercials and started figuring out the whole treatment game. One of the guys at the company knew Greg Strauss (co-director of “Skyline”). So I kind of met the brothers within six months of moving out to LA. After I met them, we hit it off as friends. We would go out and hit the town. One day Greg needed someone to write a treatment for a presentation, so myself and a friend of mine who was in graphic design did a few style frames and a few treatments. The second one I did for them was for a Fresca ad and the company got the job. Then we did the Gatorade ad where Michael Jordan misses the shot. After that I started developing features. I always loved movies. I loved sci-fi and I loved big ideas. I always had this kind of love for playing with the big epic story and then whittle it down into a small human intimate moment. I wrote a big disaster movie with the Strauss brothers a few years ago and we took that out on the town. I also wrote a period epic. “Skyline” is the third script I wrote. When we came up with the idea, I had been collaborating with the Strauss brother’s animation supervisor Joshua Cordes, who I had worked with before on “AVP 2”. He wrote a really brutal horror movie script called “Toxicity” that I thought did a good job with the contained kind of character story with teenagers trapped in a drug tenement house. “Skyline” was never anything but people trapped in a high rise. I wanted to play with the more epic aspects of “Skyline” and Josh would help keep me grounded. So we each wrote a treatment the first day. We had the idea and we put them together the next day and a lot of the beefs lined up. So we took the best parts of each and we almost immediately had a story. Within a week we had people who wanted to finance the movie because it had these awesome concepts of spaceships over cities and people getting sucked up in the air. It was a really big story set within the parameters of a small production.

AL: Is it true that the whole movie came together in less than a year?
LO: Yes, November of 2009 is when we had the first meeting. We had about thirty five pages in the first couple weeks,then we had a script about mid December. We started casting in late December/early January.
PM: It happened really fast. They were all really hungry. The teaser was shot Thanksgiving Day, it was pretty wild.
LO: The process has been great and I have been able to share it with my family and have them involved in some capacity. Phet has been my script reader since we have been together and it was great getting that feedback. She actually had input on the “Skyline” script in a few places.
PM: I was watching out for that woman character.
LO: In one scene we had Eric Belfour’s character tell Britney Daniels character to “shut up” and Phet said “No”. So when we were on set for that scene I told Eric that I had a female friend of mine read the script and that she hated the shut-up scene. Eric was like “I Love It” and he got really pissed and was complaining about the scene not being liked. Then I told him it was my wife (laughs) and he felt super bad. The next time he saw Phet, he apologized to her.
PM: From a woman’s perspective when a man tells them to shut up you do not like that man. They were like “Come on, he’s going to be a really likable character” and I was like “Um, No”.
LO: It was good insight

AL: Liam, you have done everything from commercials to music videos and now movies. Do you have one you prefer over the others?
LO: Movies, any day of the week! I was getting frustrated with videos and commercials. We would start writing the treatment in almost script form. There would be seven pages for a music videos, which would make it look very theatrical. It would get frustrating because we would do all this work only to be passed off for a more simpler low budget idea.  Also when you’re doing pitches for studios, the scripts get sent out to directors like Greg and Colin. Then they want meetings and when you do meetings you have to come in with a really well thought out idea of how you are going to approach that script. You are doing a lot of visual development and other things. I literally spent a year doing that and all I have from it are a bunch of really well written twenty page treatments of movies that someone else went on to make or that never got made. It’s just a frustrating use of your time and your passion.  I really immersed myself into each one of those projects and tried to make them as good as it could be. At times it can came down to things being political as to who gets the job. All those type of things just contributed to us saying we are going to do “Skyline” independently and by ourselves.

AL: You have another title in the works titled “Offline”, can you tell us about that?
LO: “Offline” was something I worked on with the guy I moved out to California with Mathew Santoro. He is a really talented director. We actually lived in the building where “Skyline” was filmed at. We were shooting this short film that kind of turned into a sizzle reel/trailer. It just kept evolving into so many different things. I helped come up with the story for that with Matt and helped shoot it for about a year. Matt put it out in Vimeo which got him attached to a few other productions. Right now, he is working on “The Dark Tower” with Ron Howard. The film is still being developed as a feature, so hopefully it comes out soon.

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Interview with J. Paul Boehmer

You may not know J. Paul Boehmer’s face but you certainly know his voice. When he’s not appearing on Broadway (he co-starred in Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband”), he may show up on your television. The confirmed Trekkie first hit the small screen on “Star Trek: Voyager.” He later appeared on both “Deep Space Nine” and “Enterprise,” as well as voiced characters on two “Star Trek” video games. Other roles in shows like “Frasier,” “Lost” and “Nip/Tuck” keep him busy when he’s not at his day job, recording books for both Books on Tape and Listening Library titles. Paul took some time to talk with Movie Mikes about his upcoming film, “Skyline”.

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Mike Gencarelli: Talk about your role as Colin in the upcoming sci-fi feature “Skyline”?
J. Paul Boehmer: Well, basically the plot is “aliens invade Los Angeles.” (laughs) That’s really all you need to know. They wreak a lot of havoc and it’s going to be pretty exciting. I just finished doing some additional dialogue work the other day and what I saw was incredible.

MG: Even though the film would be classified “low budget” I understand it has a big budget feel. Do you agree?
JPB: The main thing about this project is that these guys (co-directors Colin and Greg Strause) know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing special effects for years…they run their own special effects house. They knew what they wanted when they came to the table. They shot it the way they wanted to. And the great thing is, they can make a movie on a really low budget and make it look fantastic. You don’t need to spend the entire national budget of a small country to make a fantastic movie.

MG: What was the hardest part of working on the film?
JPB: For me, it was that I have a very bad end. I was hung from ropes for an entire day and was dropped six feet onto a pad all day long. It was really fun…I loved doing my own stunts. I had a headache at the end of the day but I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to do it again. It was really great.

MG: How was it working with the Strause Brothers?
JPB: They were incredible. They’re so together, they had everything ready to go. It was one of the nicest sets I’ve ever worked on. We actually filmed in one of their apartment buildings and in their parking structure. But let me also say that it wasn’t just any apartment building, it was one on Santa Monica Beach!

MG: You have done some work in the “Star Trek” world, tell us about it and would you consider yourself a “Trekkie”?
JPB: I grew up on “Star Trek.” I used to race home from school every day to see the episodes when they first put them into syndication. And that was the first big syndication “thing.” I grew up on it. I dreamed about it, made my own model ships. I did all the boy things. So to get to be on the show was a huge dream come true for me. And to be on the show as often as I was, and to play the great characters I got to play, was really exciting. I actually played a Nazi SS officer on both “Voyager” and “Enterprise.” For all I know it was the same costume! I have no shame about being a Trekkie. I speak a little Klingon…a little Vulcan…I’ve been known to watch all of the movies over and over.

MG: What else are you working on?
JPB: Nothing at the moment. I’ve had a couple of auditions but nothing back on those yet. I do narrate books on tape for my day job. I have more than 100 titles that I’ve recorded, including “Moby Dick.” I just did a recording of “The Jungle,” as well as Michael Scott’s “Necromancer.

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Interview with Norman Reedus

Norman Reedus is known most for his role of Murphy MacManus in “The Boondock Saints” series. He is currently appearing in AMC’s new TV series “The Walking Dead”, playing the role of Daryl Dixon. The character as described by Norman is “a guy who is ready to break down and kill everyone at any moment”. Movie Mikes had the chance again to talk with Norman about his role in the show and how it differs from his other projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Daryl Dixon in “The Walking Dead”?
Norman Reedus: Daryl is an ex-con that lives alone with his brother. When the apocalypse happens, he fends for himself. He is a hunter. He hunts with a crossbow. He is quite the hot head. He is also efficient in his killing. He is a no-bullshit kind of a kind. My character comes in on the third episode. My brother, who is played by Michael Rooker, is in trouble. I go looking for my brother with the rest of the crew behind me. They do not know whether to trust me and I do not know whether to trust them. I am not too particularly happy with the situation. I come in just like a tornado and just reek havoc. Slowly through all the situations that happen to us while looking for my brother, they find out that I am good guy to have around. I sort of start of a family with these more “normal” type people. In this show the zombie are not the only enemies. The enemy could be the guy standing right next to you. It is this weird see-saw of who you can trust. It makes for super interesting television. It is such an interesting character. I am really exciting to be apart of it. There is a rumor that Robert (Kirkman) might be putting me in the comic book. That would be really fun to see myself drawn in one of Robert’s comic books.

MG: How did you become involved with this project?
NR: I remember reading the pilot. I had never really done the whole pilot season thing in LA. I was reading them all and I said that this was the best pilot. I got to LA late and I originally really liked the Rick Grimes role. They told me that Frank knows my stuff and they wanted me to read for one of the brothers. I went in and actually read Merle Dixon lines in front of Frank. I do not think my character was even written yet. It was just an idea at the time. Next thing I know I am on-board.

MG: Tell us about working with Michael Rooker, who plays your brother in the show?
NR: I remember seeing “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” was back when and I remember thinking this guy is one of my favorite people ever. Michael was such a cool guy and such a blast to work with. He is such a good actor. He brings so much to the table. He is such a force just to be around. As far as Daryl Dixon goes, you have a brother like Merle as your older sibling and you are always trying to live up to your brother.  You are definitely going have some issues. I went into it with a major chip on my character’s shoulder and I think it plays off really nicely.

MG: Your character is not in the comic series, did you find that difficult to prepare?
NR: Frank (Darabont) wrote my part specifically for the show. It is really well written, so I got a good sense of what the character is like from the beginning. As far as being in the comic book, I know some of the other cast members mentioned how easy for was them to see how there character was like from the comic book.  Though none of them wanted to get too far into it though because they wanted to make it their own. I understand their point of view. For me going into it without having anything of my character written actually opened me up. I was able to make Daryl who I wanted to make him. Then again the writing was so good that I got a great sense of who he was very easily.

MG: You are no stranger to the genre but did this project differ in any way for you?
NR: I have done some horror things. I have worked with John Carpenter and Guillermo del Toro. I have also done a lot of serious drama. This definitely falls under serious drama. We are playing it for real. There are no zombies walking up shouting “BRAIIIINNNNSSSS”. It is not corny at all. There is one zombie in particular that Rick goes back to and puts out of its misery. It is one of the most sentimental parts of the whole pilot. I can say horror because it is zombies but it feels more like a large scale dramatic film. It really treats the zombification more like a disease than some surreal monster thing. It feels like there is an epidemic and real people are turning into zombie and not like people are coming back from the grave. You really get the human aspect of the zombies as well as how grotesque they look.

MG: Hopefully we will be seeing a Season 2, would you be returning if we do?
NR: Fuck yeah man, I am ready to fly to Atlanta right now and just wait on them. I am so into this. It is my favorite project I have ever done. I hope it goes on for ten years.

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